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First Amendment Forum

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Department of Mass Communication’s First Amendment Forum will honor international educator and media researcher Everette E. Dennis with its Defense of the First Amendment Award honoree.

Dennis, dean and chief executive officer of Northwestern University’s sole international campus in Doha, Qatar, will receive the honors as part of the forum, which begins at 9 a.m. April 24 in the Atwood Memorial Center’s Little Theatre.

This year’s theme is “Under Fire: Media Coverage of Community Outrage.” The daylong program will focus on news coverage of public protests, rallies and confrontational displays, including coverage of policing and security situations that arise in conjunction with those events.

It will feature two panel discussions. The first begins at 9:30 a.m. with a panel of news sources who have experienced such coverage. Guests will include:

  • St. Cloud Police Chief William “Blair” Anderson;
  • Stephen Philion, professor of sociology and director of the SCSU Research Group on Immigrant Workers in Minnesota;
  • Abdul Kulane, a language and cultural translator who sought election to the St. Cloud City Council and has worked to bring together community members to discuss tensions at one of St. Cloud’s high schools; and
  • Adam Hammer, director of media relations and publications for St. Cloud State’s University.

The second panel begins at 1:30 p.m. and will include several members of Minnesota’s broadcast, digital and print media communities.

Dennis, who established a media research program as part of the World Internet Project that probes freedom and censorship in the Arab world, will address the group at 11:15 a.m. via pre-recorded message.

Dennis spent a decade in Minnesota where he was professor and director of graduate studies in the School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota. Much of his work on freedom of the press was produced while he taught media law and ethics at the U of M and published 15 of his now more than 45 books. He also served advanced fellowships at Harvard Law School, Harvard’s Institute of Politics and Nieman Foundation.

The First Amendment Forum on the St. Cloud State campus dates to the early-1970s, when it was known as Media Day.

Recent recipients of the First Amendment Award include Mark Anfinson, Donald Gemberling, Gary Gilson, Lucy Dalglish, Michael Vadnie, Paul Hanna, John Bodette, Ron Nixon, Reed Anfinson and Rene Kaluza. 

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